Common Questions for Pediatric Medical Associates
If you struggle to get your kids to take vitamins and mineral supplements, you may be glad to learn that the daily battle may soon be over – research shows most children do not need to take nutritional supplements. Research suggests that kids who are most likely to take supplements don’t need them. These children are already healthy, and they have active lifestyles, access to nutritious food, and quality healthcare.
Many medical organizations, such as the American Academy of Pediatrics and the American Dietetic Association, say that healthy kids should get the vitamins and minerals they need from food.
Should I wake up my infant to feed them?
You should wake your newborn every two to three hours for feeding during the neonatal period as you try to get your baby back to birth weight. Why is this? Babies who don’t eat can become dehydrated and tired. This may cause them to refuse the bottle, which can lead to more dehydration and feeding trouble.
Can exposure to cold weather cause a cough or cold?
The notion that cold weather causes a cough or cold is an old wives’ tale that dates back to the 1880s – before scientists discovered that germs were the real culprits. Back then, people thought “bad air” or “vapors” caused infections. Today, we know that colds are more common in the winter because kids are inside and in close quarters, which increases the risk of germs spreading. Cold weather also triggers runny noses, which are one of the easiest ways for kids to spread their germs.
How do I know if my child has a cold or if they have the flu?
In most cases, it does not matter whether your sick child has a cold or the flu – the treatment is almost always the same: rest and drink fluids to keep comfortable until the illness runs its course. However, your pediatrician may decide to perform tests to determine the underlying cause of illness if the symptoms are severe.
I have a strong-willed child – what should I do?
Strong-willed children are often spirited and courageous, but raising such a child can be challenging at times. Children with a strong will have clear ideas of what they want in life, and they are not afraid to pursue it. While parenting a self-motivated and independent child can be challenging, it can have rewards later on, as many of these children become leaders. As a parent, it’s important to resist the urge to “break their will.”
If you have a strong-willed child, you are familiar with the power struggles that go with it. Here are a few tips for avoiding these battles:
- Let your child take charge of as many of their own activities as possible.
- Allow your child to explore the world in their own way – as long as they remain safe.
- Offer your child choices instead of orders; having a sense of control is extremely important to strong-willed kids. They will often rebel against any attempts to limit their autonomy.
- Give your child authority over their own body. Allow them to choose their own outfits.
- Use routines and rules to set boundaries.
- Avoid power struggles over trivial matters – choose your battles wisely.
- Listen to your child’s reasons for their choices. Strong-willed children often have a great deal of integrity and feel passionate about their viewpoint.
- Think in terms of support, not force.
How can I prevent lice?
Did you know that, according to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), an estimated 6 million to 12 million lice infestations happen each year in the United States among children 3 to 11 years of age? That’s a lot of itchy scalps!
The American Chemical Society states that lice populations in at least 25 states have a gene mutation that makes them resistant to over-the-counter (OTC) medicines. Unfortunately, Connecticut is one of those states. It is important to keep in mind that, while having head lice is creepy, the condition causes no public health threat or significant disease.
When it comes to lice, prevention is more manageable than treatment. Teach your children never to share hats, combs, hair ties, or any type of headwear.
In some cases, you may be able to treat your child’s head lice at home with OTC medications, such as Nix. Alternative methods such as mayonnaise, herbs, and fragrances are not effective. To remove lice, use a wet comb on your child’s hair several times a day.
More importantly, your pediatric group is here to help you through any health concerns, including lice. Please call us if you find yourself needing help. If OTC treatment fails, or if you are concerned for other reasons, simply make an appointment. We can confirm the diagnosis and consider the prescription strength treatment options.
How much sleep should my child get?
Children need anywhere from 8 to 17 hours of sleep per day, depending on their age. The Sleep Foundation recommends the following:
- Newborn (0-3 months old): 14 to 17 hours
- Infant (4-11 months old): 12 to 15 hours
- Toddler (1-2 years old): 11 to 14 hours
- Preschool (3-5 years old): 10 to 13 hours
- School-age (6-12 years old): 9 to 11 hours
- Teen (13-17) years old: 8 to 10 hours
Why does my child feel tired?
We get this question a lot! There are several reasons that your child could feel tired. The most likely include:
- Not getting enough sleep
- Being overscheduled
- Eating poorly
- Feeling depressed
How can I prevent tick and bug bites?
Whenever possible, keep your kids inside during the early morning hours or at dusk. If your children need to be outside during these hours, have them wear loose-fitting, long-sleeve clothing that prevents critters from getting to their skin.
The American Academy of Pediatrics recommends insect repellent that contains between 10-30% DEET – don’t waste money on products containing more than 30%, as it does not offer greater protection. Insect repellent containing DEET is safe for children over the age of 2 months.
Apply repellent with DEET to exposed skin and clothing. Avoid using it on hands, eyes, and irritated skin.
If you are uncomfortable using repellent with DEET, Picaridin is a good alternative. Do not use sunscreen and bug repellent together. Sunscreen has to be reapplied over time, but the bug repellent does not. Be sure your child washes off the repellent after coming indoors.